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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Well Played, Microsoft...

Remember yesterday's story about my 4-year old buying me a copy of Torchlight off XBLA? Well, I guess my 3-year old was paying attention because I was the recipient of yet another gift courtesy of some rapid presses of the "A-button" and a little boy who wanted to play the "jumping game".

My 3-year old and 4-year old sons love Doritos Crash Course. They can't wait for bedtime to approach because they know that they'll get the chance to play ten minutes of the "jumping game" with Daddy. After supper last night, I went up to my bedroom to change out of my work clothes and prepare for some quality gaming time with my kids. As I was changing, I heard the pitter-patter of little feet come into the bedroom.

I came out of the bathroom to see both my boys sitting on the bed, controllers in hand. My 3-year old's controller was on, most likely due to his fascination with the over-sized Xbox guide button. I turned the TV on, switched the video input, and saw a video for Halo Reach playing on the TV. Hmmmm - what are the odds that something funny happened again...?

I took the controller from my 3-year old and quickly checked my MS Points balance. I'd just finished depositing 5000 points into my account (Pinball FX 2 tables, Stacking, Costume Quest, Mass Effect 2 DLC, and Fallout New Vegas DLC aren't free). My account balance showed 4310. Dammit! Are you kidding me Microsoft?!

I worked my way to my purchase history and found another accidental purchase listed: the Halo Reach Defiant Map Pack for 800 MS points. While I wasn't too bothered by my 4-year old's purchase of Torchlight, I refuse to spend money on a multiplayer map pack - especially for games that I don't own and have never played.

Thankfully, Microsoft Support was very understanding. I'm sure that they're aware of the dangers of young children turning on consoles and hammering the "A-button". My purchase was refunded without issue once the support representative got all of 6the details surrounding the purchase.

I question why the software developers responsible for the 360 dashboard don't create a slightly modified button sequence to buy new items off Xbox Live (how about A-A-Y-A?). Or why not give me the option of having my 360 dashboard default to a different tab set which might force my kids to input both button presses and left stick movements to buy and download new purchases?

Then again, the 360 dashboard set-up resulted in me pulling the trigger on my purchase of Torchlight. And I'm sure that there are many other parents out there completely unaware that their children have accidentally triggered purchases of random bits of software.

Well played, Microsoft. Well played...


anotherdae said...

Even better than your original story which had me laughing! Time to set up a password protect I think!

Klopzi said...

@anotherdae -

I asked the MS representative about putting a password on purchases. Unfortunately, MS doesn't provide that option.

There are other options though. The easiest option, in my opinion, is to have the 360 immediately launch into a game upon boot-up if a disc is present in the disc tray. I always keep a disc in so this option requires no work on my part.

Other options including disabling the 360's automatic Xbox Live sign-in. Sounds reasonable but I'm sure it's a just a matter of pressing the A button to login and then buy some games/DLC.

A final option would be to hide my controllers (or at least hide the batteries for the controllers). But my memory being what it is, I'm worried that I'd spend weeks looking for the hidden controllers before giving up and buying new ones.

I really wish Microsoft would just implement a "confirm" button on all purchases that requires a different button than the "A" button. Kids really can't help pushing that damned green button.

Then again, my 3-year old loves the colour "yellow" and my 4-year old is partial to "red" Push X to confirm?

My sons' have probably bought another couple games while I was writing this...

anotherdae said...

The PS3 has an auto-play disc option. I wonder if it isn't in the XBox preferences as well. Also you have to input your password for every purchase maybe you hit a "remember password" option along the way somewhere.

Glad to hear you didn't have any trouble returning the purchase.

Klopzi said...

@anotherdae -

Yes - the 360 has an auto-play option. I've got that turned on now to prevent my 360 from launching to the dashboard.

As for the password, it's a no-go. MS Support says that there is no option to put a password on your purchases.